Rating: ★★★★★ | 5 stars
Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Series or Standalone: (The Conqueror’s Saga #2)
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Retelling, Historical Fantasy, Alternative History
Page Count: 459 pages
Dates Read: June 27th – June 30th, 2017
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, Thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
– Goodreads 2017
*starts to panic from the sheer emotion*
*Cues Theme Song*: Rise by Katy Perry
But I also feel as if the chorus of Fly – Nicki Minaj (feat. Rihanna) fits this book so well.
[Chorus – Rihanna:]
I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
I came …. to win – Lada
to win – Lada
to fight – Nicolae
to conquer – Mehmed (don’t be daft, he’s fricking Mehmed ‘the Conqueror’ do you think I’d put anyone else there? Nope.)
to thrive – Radu
to win – Mehmed
to survive – Bogdan
to prosper – Radu
to rise – Lada
to fly – Lada
Oh my god – this book.
It slew my very existence and possibly my soul.
Kiersten White – I am deceased because of you – are you happy? I need book three more than I need air.
I just need my babies to be happy and okay.
I got up at 5 am to finish this book – and while I’m tired I do not regret it in the least.
Except the fact that I have probably about 365 days until I can devour the third and final book in this amazing saga.
Also just this cover – it’s breathtaking. It’s an arrow piercing an Ottoman style Necklace, which is very symbolic. I loved the turquoise and copper accent of the necklace. And it looks so nice next to And I Darken.
I am beyond ecstatic to be back with my precious ones;
<> SPOILERS <>
Can we just talk about that poem Mehmed sent Lada? Because that was a work of art. I’m not entirely sure if Mehmed was actually into to poetry like his great – grandson Suleiman I (a quick check on my friend Wikipedia – it states this: “Besides, Mehmed II himself was a poet writing under the name “Avni” (the helper, the helpful one) and he left a classical diwan (poetry).”
“I dream of her neck, slender and unadorned as the gazelle, I long to see her tresses, draping a cloth between us and our nakedness, Her breasts like smooth mirrors, her legs like slender reeds bent by the water, At eventide she lightens the shadows, a lamp against the night, And I will not forswear that fire nor the passion it alights in my body, Swift and taut as an arrow at the ready, with her, my target.”
Also that sex scene between Lada and Mehmed. Oh, my gods – I lost my shit there and I don’t believe I ever regained any of it. I was reading that scene on the couch, and my parents came inside, and I was a mess.
I didn’t know I needed that scene but I did.
(my suggestion listen to Halsey’s Young God while you read that scene. It makes it even better btw.)
My one question: it states she drops the knife, but it never states where it lands. Where did it land? In the bed? On the floor? And why when Lada storms out fuming with rage and the goal to kill Mehmed for his acts why doesn’t she pick up her knife and kill him right then and there? Yes, I am aware that a piece of his hair was on his face, but generally, when you’re trying to murder someone their hair isn’t your priority. That is what she was doing in the first place. GOD LADA!
Also this: he took off his nightshirt, he wore nothing underneath.
(Take note, the key word is ‘off‘)
– really? No shit Sherlock, because people usually wear other clothes beneath their night clothes. If he took off his shirt then surely he’s going to have another layer underneath. This isn’t the arctic circle for heaven’s sakes.
And Mehmed – well, he is still very much Mehmed. Mehmed is Mehmed and there is simply no other way to put this into words.
He’s twenty-one but he totally acts like a teenage boy. Yet he is still on my list of favorite Ottoman Sultan (yes, I have a list which includes Murad III, Ibrahim I, Osman II, Suleiman I, Ahmed I, Bayezid II, and Mehmed II)Urbana is a goddess! She is my spirit animal, on every level.
“I think Urbana is insane, but she might also be a genius.”
I wouldn’t mind a spin-off about Urbana either, just for the record.
Also, this scene. I was crying from its purest perfection.
“Your wife may be infertile,” Urbana said as she and Radu sat down for a mid-afternoon meal. Radu choked in surprise. “What?” “You’ve been married more than a year. How often do you copulate*?” Radu raised his eyes to the ceiling, searching for answers there as he felt his cheeks burning hotter than the furnaces in the foundry. “Are you an expert in these matters?” he asked, trying for a teasing tone. Urbana frowned. “No. But I wonder about the practicality of continuing on a course that is yielding no results. What about the maid?” …. “I prefer to remain faithful to my wife.”
*For those who don’t know copulate means sexual intercourse.
While the possibility of Radu and Mehmed actually being together seems pretty darn slim. There is actually a lot of evidence that Mehmed was bisexual.
And that he and Radu are historically canon Because Radu was a concubine for both Murad (why because just ew, but then Mehmed, Meleksima, and Osman is allowed to be a love triangle) and Mehmed. So I still have hope. Radu and Mehmed have fan art (pre-AID), and a Tumblr tag.
Look at this gorgeous fan art (totally not mine)
If you wish more revealing art check out this folder (Ottoman Wallachia) – you’ll find Radu and Mehmed wearing Henna and no clothes (it’s not that revealing. You can’t see any private parts) but for the sake of younger viewers, I’m not gonna post them.
(I could go on forever) – if I ever (re)review this you’ll find more.
I also have a new OTP *drumroll* Daciana and Stefan. I want their happiness. Please, Kiersten, I begeth you.
Lada’s face when Daciana tells Lada she’s in labor. She’s terrified and it was priceless.
I want a book that focuses on baby Lada. (and I don’t mean Lada Dracul, I mean Daciana’s Lada). That would be an incredible spin-off – Kiersten you reading this?
This book kills the game with the first line.
“Hell was a party. At least, Radu was fairly certain that whatever hell there was would certainly resemble this party.”
Basically, I am one proud mama – all of my babies achieved something: Lada is now the official Prince of Wallachia; Mehmed conquered his dream city Constantinople (Istanbul); and Radu he became a Pasha (also, Mehmed knows that Radu has some overly friendly feelings for him.)
Lada becomes so badass over the course of this book. She just takes over Wallachia – and it’s incredible, yet she still had her period. Which is so great! Because it’s realistic, very few YA books and even NA and Adult books mention people getting their periods. It’s basically “what is a period?” Unless they get pregnant, then it’s like “My period is late.” But also, “wait I had a period?”
Radu develops so much as a character, and I adored it. He was an innocent child in And I Darken, while in Now I Rise he’s grown into a young man with tact, brains, yet he still retains his precious nature. On a ships note, we have Radu and Cyprian (who I do mildly ship). Seriously when Radu “meets” Cyprian I believe this is what was truly going through his head was this:
But also whenever any of them would do something stupid (mostly Mehmed; because that boy will never learn) I was in so much emotional pain. Mehmed is such an idiot, but that doesn’t change my adoration. It pained me though just to hear him set Radu aside for Lada. Just pretty much every time he appears he would do something that would make me cringe for him. But I still love him. I still want him and Radu together. That would make my heart happy.
And just the fact that those Danesti boys who were absolute asses to Radu in book one think that a simple “I’m sorry I was an asshole,” is gonna cut it? Cause it’s not.😐
Halil (Pasha) Vizer can die in a hole – and no that is not a request.
Halil Pasha is a terrible human being, who deserves pain, for all the pain he’s caused my precious baby son Radu.
“and the bitter taste that couldn’t be swallowed, Halil Pasha.”
Also, I’m pretty sure that is not how the Vizier title works either – Pasha is a title. Let us take Ibrahim (Vizier to Suleiman I) as an example. His title is Ibrahim Pasha and he is the Grand Vizier but he still has his Pasha title.
Nazira – my precious Nazira. I am so happy that she is safe. She’s the only one, but I am happy that I’ll have someone in the end. It was wonderful getting to know her character more, and her and Radu’s relationship is possibly one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my entire existence. Also, Fatima, I wish we’d delved deeper into her character, though.
Cyprian is a good person. I really liked his relationship with Radu, and even with his Uncle, Constantine, who was actually a really chill dude (considering the situation).
The siege of Constantinople was so well done. It stays very true to accounts of what actually happened, which is a major plus. I’m so proud of Mehmed for doing it, even though I feel as if Radu should get a lot more credit than he got. It actually seemed like Radu was the one doing the conquering at times. Like A LOT MORE. I liked all the based on real historical figures like Hunyadi (who I will forever call Hyundai), his son Matthias, Giustiniani, John, Suleiman, (though that made me think of Sultan Suleiman) and Manuel to name a few.
Then we have characters like Coco and Helen. Which I adore beyond reason. Helen is basically is the human deviation of reality TV and it’s fabulous.
Lada also gets me, she has the same questions as I do – like why you’d bring a bunch of furniture on a military campaign? But that’s the Ottoman Sultans for you. They take a ridiculous amount. They just want to be comfortable, which I can’t deny I want that too. But sadly, my parents wouldn’t let me bring the couch camping.
Also, I haven’t made up my mind what is creepier – Radu waiting in Mehmed’s bedroom without anyone knowing, or that Mehmed is (possibly) ignoring Radu. I just want them to be happy. It kind of seems as if Mehmed is being set up as the villain, which while that would be an interesting take, I want him to be with Radu. Yes, I will go down with my ship.
Kiersten White – you scare me. I fear for my precious babies. Please don’t kill them.
All I want is happiness for my babies. That is ALL I ASK (and world peace and Trump to not be in Office)
But am I going to get that? NOPE.
This is the first series from Kiersten White I’ve read, but I’m terrified. They’re probably all doomed. Don’t you just love it when you get overly emotional about fictional characters? Actually, these are mostly real people; more real people than Magnificent Century has.
How the frick am I supposed to wait another 11 months to know if my precious children are okay?
My full pre-review is coming once Book 3 has a title, release date, & cover.
I am willing to struggle through Junior year so I can get my hands on this book ASAP. I’m fine, everything is going to be okay. Kiersten White isn’t going to murder all my precious babies. Breathe Tova, just breathe. Everything is (not) going to be okay.
To all readers out there – know inside that you are as strong and capable as Lada, as sweet and loving as Radu, and as “important” as Mehmed. I wish you best with your dreams, whether that be conquering Wallachia, Constantinople, or simply finding love.
P.S I am forgetting so many good things, but this review is so overdue.
P.P.S Happee Birthdae, Harry Potter, Hannah, Neville, and J.K Rowling!
Petyr Baeish Books © 2017 by Tova Portmann – Bown